By on October 17, 2018

“A new era begins” in November, Mazda’s YouTube video announces, but the automaker is likely referring to more than just the car seen in the teaser.

The next-generation Mazda 3, snippets of which can be seen in both hatchback and sedan form, will be joined by a new gasoline engine that’s far more monumental than any revamped compact car.

As you can see from the link, there’s not to actually see, though the hatch’s severely sloped rear calls to mind the brand’s Kai concept, released last year. It was assumed at the time that the Kai would serve as inspiration for the 2019 Mazda 3. In the video’s side-on peek, the new vehicle’s flanks appear not quite as featureless; however, it’s clear the highly accentuated fender bulges of years past will soon be a thing of the past.

The date listed in the video points to a product unveiling at next month’s L.A. Auto Show, so that’s something to look forward to. This author, as well as other TTACers, remain fans of the current-gen 3 — specifically the 2.5-liter/six-speed GT version. It’s a fun little front-driver that enthusiastically and capably eats up twisty back roads, and its KODO design language earns two thumbs way up.

Whatever the 2019 model’s looks, the most radical change will lie under the hood. The new 3 serves as the first application of Mazda’s Spark Controlled Combustion Ignition (SPCCI) engine — a high-compression 2.0-liter four-cylinder that blends characteristics of both gasoline spark ignition and diesel compression ignition for greater efficiency and power.

To overcome inherent problems with gasoline compression ignition (temperature-related pre-ignition or lack of any ignition), Mazda kept a source of spark in the combustion chamber. It calls the new mill the Skyactiv-X.

Located in close proximity to the injector, the spark plug ignites only a small burst of fuel injected near the end of the compression stroke, right as the piston reaches the top of its travel. The resulting burn from this small, localized charge increases pressure in the cylinder, resulting in the combustion ignition of a pre-existing fuel-air mix that wasn’t concentrated enough to ignite on its own. This leads to a more diesel-like power signature and greater fuel efficiency.

Despite having a plan for electrification, Mazda remains of the few automakers without a hybrid or electric vehicle in its lineup. The investment in SPCCI was seen as a way of lengthening the gasoline engine’s lifespan while also making nice with the EPA. Assuming Mazda worked out all the bugs, the new tech stands to create a cheaper and less complex high-MPG vehicle.

[Images: Mazda/YouTube]

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17 Comments on “Teaser Vid Heralds a New Mazda 3 and a New Way to Burn Gasoline...”

  • avatar

    Are we sure this is the 3 and not a new CX-3 or something?

    • 0 avatar

      The slope of that hatch is already a turn-off for me; most people in the compact class have to buy one car that does many things well… not one car for sporty and one car for practical.

    • 0 avatar

      It may be bad form to answer my own question, but I went looking and found this. Per the last line of the story at (

      “Mazda said its first electric should debut in 2019, and will likely be a crossover SUV based on the next-generation Mazda3.”

      Or (

      “An automotive news outlet from the Netherlands called AutoRAI spoke with Mazda’s European vice president for sales and customer service. He told the outlet that Mazda has an electric car coming In 2019, and it will be available with a rotary engine as a generator.”

      So I think I agree with myself, and the red car with the weird roofline in the video is probably not the new 3, but is rather an electric compact/subcompact SUV based on the 3.

      The gray car in the video, I think that might be the 3.

      It makes sense to me that these would be 2 separate vehicles, since Mazda showed 2 separate concepts at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show. There was a red “Kai” concept, and a gray “Vision” concept, and they were quite different.

      Also, I think Mazda is a little too humble to call the intro of the SkyActiv-X “a new era” all by itself. So I think some kind of electrification is involved.

      Of course, all this may be hogwash, and maybe that red car is just the new 3 with a SkyActiv-X engine. But I am leaning the other way.

  • avatar

    I’m actually quite interested in this new car and its engine.

    Could be a car to consider leasing and perhaps buy after several years of proven engine tech.

  • avatar

    ICE teasers/concepts feel amateurish….Edsel-ish….get serious Mazda…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Mazda has been betting on the wrong teams for years now – Skyactiv and especially the rotary.

    When it comes to fuel economy, who thinks of Mazda?

    As for the rotary, even when it was in production it was considered a novelty at best.

    Sadly, they’re not even priced competitively.

    • 0 avatar

      “When it comes to fuel economy, who thinks of Mazda?”

      Up until recently, not me. Back in the early 2000’s, the mom of a friend of mine was looking for a replacement for her Corolla, which got about 40 mpg. I suggested she look at a Protege, which she fell in love with and bought. And then proceeded to bitch that it didn’t even get 30 mpg.

      But, times are different. I recently bought a Mazda 3 hatch and cross-shopped it with the competition. Fuel economy was right in line with the Civic, Focus, Cruze, Elantra, etc. And the 3 drives like none of those cars- which is a good thing. No turbo lag, smooth and quiet and linear. Crisp handling- and the best design of any compact. It’s a Triple-A player in a decidedly Double-A field.

      Priced competitively? My 3 hatch was 16K (with destination) before tax and title. The base Civic hatch, which didn’t have all the whistles nor all the bells of the 3, was close to 20 grand- and the Honda dealer made it clear they weren’t budging on that number.

    • 0 avatar

      Just to add, while I’m not a rotary fan, the SkyActive is a great engine. A friend of mine works in a lab where they do emissions and fuel economy testing, and he quipped that the Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC) and thermal efficiency charts for the SkyActive 2.0 were among the best he’d seen.

    • 0 avatar

      Most fuel efficient full line car brand in the US and the lowest average CO2 emissions.

      What were you saying again? Bitching about a rotary engine that hasn’t been in production since 2011?

    • 0 avatar


      I have to agree with mechimike and Groovypippin. Mazda has been stepping up their game since 2010.

  • avatar

    Engine tech reminds me a little of Honda’s stratified charge CVCC engines. That was clean, efficient, no-catalytic-converter-needed wonder technology for the otherwise malaise-ish 1970s. Wonder why Honda never followed up on those.

  • avatar

    I certainly hope we get an electric Mazda with rotary range extender. Great application for a smooth, compact rotary. Of course, rotaries are neither clean-burning nor fuel-efficient, so the car would be green only on battery power, so hopefully they could wedge enough battery in there for 70-150 miles on EV.

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